It feels like I need a month just to write this recap! At the end of last month’s wrap-up, I said May was going to be massive. As I sit down to write this post, I’m not sure ‘massive’ does it justice. May has seen the Sydney Writers’ Festival come to town, a surge in Kindling II submissions, new additions to the team and loads more. I’d get a cup of tea if I were you, this is going to be a long one.

My Book:

If you had of asked me last year about my experience with the publishing industry so far, you would have spoken to someone who was really enthusiastic. Last year though, I must have had an unbelievable amount of beginner’s luck in hearing back almost instantly from publishers and editors about Red Hands. This year, while the responses have still been positive, there’s been a lot more waiting around.

And that’s what May has been for Red Handsa waiting game. I’m currently waiting to hear back from a number of literary agents, as well as two Australian publishers who are still considering my manuscript. Publishing moves at a glacial pace, so I’m told.

In other bookish news, remember that idea I mentioned a while back now? Well, it’s still here, and I’m mulling over it quite seriously now. There are fragments of characters, and at one point – there was even an opening sentence. Perhaps once June is done and dusted, I’ll have actually committed to it. I will say this – I miss it, working on a book – there’s just nothing quite like it.

Editing Life:

My life as an editor was well and truly in full swing during May – and there was certainly never a dull moment. Between our coverage of Sydney Writers’ Festival, hiring Editorial Assistants for the first time, and having more visitors to Writer’s Edit than ever before, I felt like I barely stood still.

Sydney Writers’ Festival

This year, Writer’s Edit was lucky enough to receive media passes to various Sydney Writers’ Festival events. This is the first time we’ve done something like this, and it was an absolute thrill to be able to offer our writers free tickets and build a relationship with the festival organisers. From May 18th – 24th, we covered over 15 events ranging from the big names like Helen Garner and Richard Flanagan to sessions that asked the hard-hitting questions like ‘are writers happy?’ and why YA is on the rise.

Kindling II

As of now, Kindling II submissions have officially closed. I’m so glad we decided on doing a second call-out, as we’ve received an influx of amazingly diverse short stories, poems and essays. However, this is just the beginning. Now – the real work begins. Our Editors Kyra, Rory and Kelly are slowly working their way through over 100 submissions to find the best possible selection for our second book.

Australian Book Design Awards

Speaking of Kindling – earlier this month, our talented designer Alissa Dinallo was nominated for Young Designer of the year as part of the Australian Book Design Awards, with Kindling as one of the covers selected for recognition. On May 22nd, the winners were announced, and we were over-the-moon-happy to hear that Alissa had indeed taken out the title! Want even more icing on that cake? Alissa has agreed to come on board as the designer for Kindling II.

Author Success

The good news just keeps on coming, with two of our Kindling authors having just recently published books of their own. The lovely Kate Liston-Mills, whose poems ‘Whiteley to IT: Hotel Room Number 4’ and ‘North Wollongong Pickles and Beaches’, and short story ‘Old Receipt’ were published in Kindling (2014) has just released The Waterfowl Are Drunk! with Spineless Wonders. I’m so incredibly stoked for Kate, and can’t wait to get my hands on her book. Heads-up – we’ll be featuring an interview with her on Writer’s Edit later this month.

US-based writer Jenny Bravo, who wrote the short story ‘Carry Urns and Stowaways’ (Kindling, 2014) has also published her debut novel These Are The Moments. I’ve actually just started reading this one, my Kindle and a fresh pot of tea are waiting at the other end of this post (if I ever get there).

It’s an absolute thrill to see writers (and designers) go on from Kindling and succeed like this. This is exactly what Writer’s Edit and Writer’s Edit Press are all about.

And a few more things…

  • May saw more visitors to Writer’s Edit than ever before.
  • Our Twitter followers hit 15K and beyond.
  • We hired two wonderful Editorial Assistants to help with editing, social media and the general running of the site.


This past month definitely wasn’t short on events either, I went to the ballet (courtesy of some amazing friends), celebrated graduating from my Masters of Publishing, saw the incredible David Mitchell talk at the City Recital Hall in Angel Place, and turned 25 among other things.


What I’ve Read

  • Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir – Joyce Johnson
  • The Strays – Emily Bitto

Note: I was definitely disappointed that I didn’t get to my usual four books a month, but something had to give!


While the Writers’ Festival has been and gone, it seems there’s no slowing down for June. We’ll be finalising the Kindling shortlist, and prepping for a competition we’ll be running on Writer’s Edit in July…

Until next time!

– Helen

Featured Image Credit: Kinfolk Magazine